National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) is observed in Kansas and across the nation today Wednesday, March 20. The goal of the day is to raise awareness about the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and to honor those who are infected or affected or who have died due to the disease.
Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have the third highest rate for new HIV infections and American Indians and Native Alaskans have the fourth highest rate for new HIV infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also have that shortest overall survival time, with only 88% living longer than 3 years. Almost 30% of newly diagnosed progress to an AIDS diagnoses in less than 12 months. Despite high rates of new HIV infections, 59% of American Indian/Alaska Natives have never been tested for HIV. Over 70% of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders have never been tested for HIV. Knowing your HIV status now and getting proper healthcare if you are HIV-positive is much better than finding out too late.
Douglas County AIDs Project (DCAP) would like to encourage people in Lawrence and surrounding areas to get educated, learn more about HIV/AIDS, help decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and get tested for HIV today. For further information about HIV/AIDS awareness events please visit our website http://www.douglascountyaidsproject.org /; call 785-843-0040 or email Kt West at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment one day in advance.
The Douglas County AIDS Project is happy to announce that as of January we will now offer free rapid HIV testing by appointment.
DCAP is excited to have this opportunity to work very closely with the community to reduce the transmission of HIV in Douglas, Franklin and Jefferson Counties. We look forward to testing more individuals in the next year and expanding our services to more populations in this region.
The Clearview HIV 1/2 test can give you a rapid HIV test result in 15 to 20 minutes. This technology is ideal for those that would like to know their HIV status in a short period of time. The test is very simple to perform and requires a very small sample of blood that is collected by a finger prick.
Individuals that would like to schedule an appointment for rapid testing will need to contact our office and schedule an appointment. Interested persons should plan to schedule 30-45 minutes per appointment.
Please contact DCAP for more information: 843-0040 or visit: www.douglascountyaidsproject.org
It’s cold and there’s not much daylight before or after work. Yep, winter can be a tough time to keep a healthy, active lifestyle.
That’s why Lawrence Memorial Hospital is offering a free eight-week program, “Drive Away the Winter Doldrums.”
It’s unique in that it doesn’t just challenge participants to eat healthier and exercise more, but to get health screenings that they like to put off.
Janelle Martin, executive director of the Community Health Improvement Project and co-coordinator of the new program, said the overall goal is to help people develop healthier habits for a lifetime.
“It’s full of tips that, hopefully, people can find useful,” Martin said.
Here’s how the self-paced, on-your-honor program works:
• Sign up by noon Feb. 3 by contacting Martin at email@example.com or 505-3070 or Aynsley Anderson, LMH community education coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org] or 505-3066.
• They will provide a packet of information by email or snail mail. It will include a handful of challenges per week to choose from. The goal is for each participant to complete one challenge per week. If they do, LMH will provide a small reward. The program begins Feb. 6 and ends April 1.
Martin said the challenges include:
• Moving 10,000 steps a day.
• Getting 150 minutes per week of activity that’s moderate to vigorous.
• Tracking the fruits and vegetables consumed on certain days.
• Creating a healthy recipe and providing a nutritional breakdown.
• Attending the LMH Healthy Hearts Fair on Feb. 18.
• Forming a team for Walk Kansas, a team-based program that’s March 18-May 12.
• Checking cholesterol and blood pressure.
• Creating a list of prescriptions that’s handy for appointments.
“We just wanted offer some sort of challenge to get people motivated to be more active in the winter. Some people fall off the map in the wintertime. They will use the cold as an excuse to not exercise one day, and then it turns into two. So it’s encouraging people to get back out and do the things they enjoy or just trying something different.”
— Janelle Martin, co-coordinator of program
It was released last week with little fanfare, but it will probably have the most impact in our nation's efforts to create a United States of healthy communities. It's the National Prevention Strategy, a little known part of the Affordable Care Act. It's meant to support actions of public and private partners to move our health care system from a focus on sickness and disease to wellness and prevention.
There are four basic parts to the strategy:
- Building healthy and safe community environments: Prevention of disease starts in our communities and at home; not just in the doctor’s office.
- Expanding quality preventive services in clinical and community settings: When people receive preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, they have better health and lower health care costs.
- Empowering people to make healthy choices: When people have access to actionable and easy-to-understand information and resources, they are empowered to make healthier choices.
- Eliminating health disparities: By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans.
Whether this will work is unknown. But, what's certain, is that what we're doing now isn't. Here's this reminder from the news release:
Increasing the focus on prevention in our communities will help improve America’s health, quality of life and prosperity. For example, seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), and almost one out of every two adults has at least one chronic illness, many of which are preventable. Racial and ethnic minority communities experience higher rates of obesity, cancer, diabetes and AIDS. Children are also becoming increasingly vulnerable. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is overweight or obese which predisposes them to chronic disease and the numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities.
LiveWell Lawrence focuses on the first and third parts. Other organizations in our community, such as the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Health Care Access, focus on the others. We at WellCommons are, too.
I imagine that a lot of folks have doubts that a big project like this -- it involved 17, count 'em, federal agencies -- can have any impact. In addition, with the reality that child trauma leads to adult onset of chronic disease, and that child trauma is very common in all socio-economic levels, how communities help families, and families help communities, is also integral to this project. So, we'll be watching for how this plays out in communities. In the meantime, here's some info:
- The news release from healthcare.gov.
- The fact sheet.
- The Webcast of the announcement.
- The National Prevention Strategy
Larry Cohen, director of the Prevention Institute in Berkeley, CA, and an old dog in the prevention world, attended the announcement in Washington, D.C. last week. In this blog post, Cohen called the event "a historic occasion. For the first time the nation has delineated a broad, coherent approach to prevention, and made it clear that prevention is critical for improving our health."
Cohen has seen prevention work.
We've cut smoking rates in half in California since I helped with the nation's first multicity no smoking ban a generation ago. We have moved from less than 1 in 4 parents buckling their kids into car seats to nearly universal use with infants, and dramatic improvements in their safety since we passed child passenger laws about that same time. As Lisa Jackson of the EPA reported at the strategy's release, the implementation of the Clean Air Act has saved thousands of lives and twenty trillion dollars.
I think we're seeing it work in Lawrence. It's a slow, but sure process, as long as we don't give up our efforts to: develop more bike lanes and paths, inspire people to move, encourage restaurants to serve healthy food, provide wellness classes, talk openly about mental illness to begin erasing its ridiculous stigma (it's a fact of most people's lives...like flu or a sprained ankle), and change the basic conversation to one of health instead of illness.
Dr. Daniel Dickerson, of Eudora Family Care, says that’s the motto of primary care.
“Our best treatment of a patient is to prevent anything from happening,” he said, in a telephone interview late Thursday.
If people get tests such as mammograms, colonoscopies, cholesterol, high blood pressure and glucose-tolerance (for diabetes), they are likely to have happier, healthier and longer lives. AND….best of all, they will help cut this country’s skyrocketing health care costs.
For example, Dickerson said regular cholesterol and blood pressure tests for one person cost a few hundred dollars a year. But if people opt not to get the tests and wait until they're very sick, they could end up with a $250,000 bill for a coronary artery bypass surgery.
“You can see how the money would add up in huge savings,” he said.
Colonoscopies are another great example, Dickerson said. The screening costs $3,500 every 10 years. If colon cancer is caught early, the treatment is less costly. If not, a person has to undergo an operation, chemotherapy, and, in many cases, ends up with a miserable, and usually shortened, life.
“By the time somebody has any symptoms of colorectol cancer, they are going to die from it. There’s no doubt,” he said. “Once, you have symptoms you’ve waited too long to get a colonoscopy. It’s rare to survive at that point.”
Even though many people have insurance, the expense of many preventive services has discouraged people from using them.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act passed last year, that's now changed. As of Sept. 23, more people can now get preventive services without having to pay a single dime.
All health insurance plans must cover preventive services for plans that began on or after Sept. 23. That means, for a whole list of services, people do not pay deductibles, co-pays or coinsurance. Here are a few from the list:
• Office visit for a wellness visit.
• Breast and colon screenings.
• Screening for vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy.
• Screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
• Cervical cancer screenings.
• Routine vaccinations.
• Vision and hearing screenings for children.
The full list can be found at healthcare.gov. The guidelines follow recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices, and Health Resources and Services Administration for Preventive Care and Screenings for Infants, Children and Adolescents.
Starting Jan. 1, Medicare beneficiaries also no longer have to pay a deductible, co-insurance or co-payments for an annual wellness visit and many preventive services, including cancer screenings.
There is one big exception to all this, and that is for “grandfathered” insurance plans. These are health plans that have not significantly changed since March 23, 2010. The plans will lose their “grandfather” status if they choose to significantly cut benefits or increase out-of-pocket spending for consumers.
Linda Sheppard, of the Kansas Insurance Department, said they expect these plans will be nonexistent within a few years.
There is no data on how many plans fall under the "grandfathered" status. Check with your insurance provider or company to find out whether your plan is exempt from the new rules.
A doctor’s call
Obviously, not everyone needs all of the preventive services.
Dickerson recommends scheduling a wellness visit with your physician, who will recommend the services appropriate for you based on your medical history and other factors, including your family history, age, and race. It’s also a good time to discuss exercise, diet and mental health.
Patients should not schedule a doctor’s visit when they’re sick or injured (with a cold or broken arm, for example) and then ask for a wellness checkup at the same time. Here’s why:
• If you are sick, the test results may be skewed. Someone with an infection might have a high blood sugar level, which may look like diabetes.
• The doctor isn’t going to have time to cover everything.
• Insurance companies can bill you for the office visit if it includes more than just preventive services.
“The intent of the law was to do something to encourage people to go out and get these preventive tests. So, that they can catch the disease early rather than later, when they are more costly,” Sheppard said. “Obviously, that’s also good for the patient.”
It seems to be working.
As of Feb. 23, more than 150,000 Medicare beneficiaries had a free annual wellness visit, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s an average of 2,800 people per day since the law took effect Jan. 1.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Under the Affordable Care Act, there are new guidelines regarding cost-sharing for preventive services.
The Prevention Institute, with the American Public Health Association, Public Health Institute, PolicyLink, and Trust for America's Health, is hosting a webinar on the health care reform act's community prevention provisions.
The webinar will be held from 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday, December 20th. It will:
- Provide updates on the status of community prevention provisions in the Affordable Care Act;
- Share next steps and actions that communities and advocates can take to further the understanding of politicians, media and the local community about the value of community prevention; and
- Share recent examples of community prevention successes.
You can register here, or paste the following into your browser: https://publichealthinstitute.webex.com/publichealthinstitute/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=962892801
Beginning July 19th The Chiropractic Experience will lead 6 contestants through a life-changing weight-loss competition, focusing on exercise, proper nutrition, and better lifestyle habits. This competition is open to the public, so if you think you have what it takes to be THE BIGGEST WINNER stop by The Chiropractic Experience at 25th and Iowa St. and pick up your application today!....
Applications due July 9th! Are you ready to be in the greatest shape of your life?!! Would you like to feel better, have more energy and a higher self-esteem than you ever thought possible? If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, The Chiropractic Experience thinks you have what it takes, and would like to invite you to be 1 of 6 contestants for this year’s “Biggest Winner” challenge!
The 12 week life-changing program for $199 includes:
*90 days of personal training using the acclaimed P90X training program
*Before & after body composition analysis and fitness assessment
*Body For Life book
*Eating For Life book
*Chiropractic Experience water bottle
Grand Prize $500 cash
Workouts will be held every morning from 630-800 AM in The Chiropractic Experience yoga studio. Dr. Sean Cailteux will be leading these classes using the workouts of the acclaimed P90X series. We only have room for 6 participants which we will select from the provided applications. For more information or for an application stop by The Chiropractic Experience at 2449 Iowa St., Ste. Q or call us at 785-838-3333
Avoid corn syrup
Science shows that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is bad news. One study showed that rats who drank HFCS-sweetened beverages gained significantly more weight than rats consuming the same amount of calories in sugar.
Keep away from junk food -- It's Addictive
Junk food can affect your brain in ways similar to drug abuse.
Structure meal times
Long stretches without food make people crave energy-dense snacks, which can make healthy choices difficult.
Satisfy your body -- especially at breakfast
A protein-rich breakfast leaves you less hungry for the rest of the day. Some fat in the meal can help, too.
Favor foods closer to nature
Favoring whole fresh foods over processed ones will naturally optimize the healthiness of your food choices.
Change your environment
Altering your food environment -- whether this means using smaller plates or keeping seconds out of immediate reach -- can help you lose weight.
Enjoy your food
Food that is eaten mindlessly is neglected food. When you pay attention, you are satisfied in a deeper way.
The AHA says ideal cardiovascular health for adults is defined by these health measures:
1. Never smoked or quit more than a year ago 2. A healthy body mass index (BMI) 3. Physical activity, and the more the better 4. Blood pressure below 120/80. 5. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 milligrams/deciliter 6. Total cholesterol of less than 200 milligrams/deciliter 7. Eating a healthy diet
The AHA hopes the seven factors could improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020, and also reduce deaths from cardiovascular-related diseases and strokes by 20 percent.